Relapsing Polychondritis

(Courtesy: Dr. Ajay Khurana, Physician, Pune, India)


A 38 year old male had complaints of intermittent pain and mild swelling in ankle and foot joints since 2 years. He was under treatment of a homeopathic doctor without any significant relief. His joint pain was associated with pain in rib cage and sometimes with a change of voice and redness of eyes. He used to feel feverish during these arthritic episodes and was generally unwell, developed loss of appetite and nutritional anaemia.

In view of no response to homeopathic drugs, he switched to Ayurveda therapy. The Ayurveda physician prescribed him purging which was followed by severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and dehydration. He was hospitalized for the same where his condition stabilized. He developed pain and mild swelling in some of his joints along with pain in left lower ribs. This was followed by painful, pink, tender and warm swelling of pinna of his left ear – a classic finding in Relapsing Polychondritis.

Relapsing Polychondritis is a multisystem autoimmune disease due to swelling of cartilage tissue. Cartilage is a firm (softer than bone) and flexible structure that is found in ear (external as well as internal), nose, glottis (phonating organ in throat), wind-pipe (trachea), rib cage, joints and intervertebral discs. Relapsing Polychondritis can be primary or be associated (30% cases) with various autoimmune and other diseases. Recurrent swelling of ear, nose and other organs leads to deformities (cauliflower ear, saddle nose). Obstruction of wind-pipe, deafness and redness of eye with diminution of vision are dreaded complications occurring in about 50% patients over course of this disease. Defects of heart valves (aortic), swelling of blood vessels, involvement of nervous system and kidneys can also occur in Relapsing Polychondritis. Prognosis of patients with Relapsing Polychondritis has significantly improved in recent years due to better management with drugs and surgery in selected patients.

Relapsing Polychondritis
Relapsing Polychondritis

Relapsing Polychondritis 2
Relapsing Polychondritis



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